École de l'air

The École de l'Air is a military school and grande école training line officers in the French Air Force. It is located at Salon-de-Provence Air Base in Salon-de-Provence, France.

École de l'Air
School crest
Motto« Faire face » (French)
(also motto of the French Air Force)
Motto in English
« Face honestly, truthfully & correctly [1] straight forward »
TypeAir Force Academy, Grande École
PresidentGilles MODERE
RectorÉric Autellet
DirectorGeneral Eric Autellet
Location, ,
AffiliationsCDEFI, CGE,[3] PEGASUS[4]


In 1922, the École du génie (School of Engineering) of Versailles, was entrusted with the mission to train all officers and aircrew in aeronautics.

The École militaire et d’application de l’Aéronautique (Military and Aeronautical School) was set up in 1925. The officer cadets from the non-commissioned officers' corps and young officers from the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr and École Polytechnique attended training at Versailles for two years. For pilots, their training then continued at Avord and then Cazaux, where they trained in aerial combat and bombing.

President Albert Lebrun created the École de l'Air by Presidential decree in 1933. The school's first class began training November 4, 1935. The school's motto, Faire Face ("Overcoming") is a tribute to Capitaine Georges Guynemer, a World War I fighter ace

In 1937, the school moved into still-unfinished buildings in Salon, Bouches-du-Rhône. The outbreak of World War II forced the school to relocate several times from 1939 to 1945, to sites including Bordeaux, Collioure, and Marrakech. It was not until 1946 that the school returned to the now-completed campus at Salon. The school received the Legion of Honor and the Croix de Guerre from President Vincent Auriol in 1947.

Other specialized schools joined the École de l'Air, including the École du commissariat de l'Air, which trains administrative, legal, and financial officers, in 1953, and the Cours Spécial de l'École de l'Air (CSEA), which trains exchange cadets from French-speaking African countries, in 1973.

In 1969, the École de l'Air began an exchange program with the United States Air Force Academy, for eight cadets per school each year.

The school first accepted women in 1976.

Since 2008, The École de l'Air also proposes two mastères spécialisés courses in aviation safety aircraft airworthiness and aerospace project management in partnership with the École nationale de l'aviation civile and the Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace.[5][6]

In 2015, The École de l'air launched a MOOC titled Compréhension de l’Arme Aérienne (Understanding the Air Power) on France Université Numérique's platform.[7]

Notable alumni


  1. Faire face (French is an action or behavior of being straight forward and being honest, truthful and correct regardless the environment.
  2. (in French)EA Salon-de-Provence
  3. (in French)Ecole d'Officiers de l'Armée de l'Air Archived 2013-04-15 at the Wayback Machine
  4. Participating Universities Archived 2011-12-13 at the Wayback Machine
  5. (in French)Aviation safety aircraft airworthiness (ENAC)
  6. MS Aerospace Project Management Archived 2016-01-10 at the Wayback Machine
  7. (in French)Un cours de l'école de l'Air en ligne

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